Monday, March 5, 2012

New Vegas Boulders

As I mentioned in my last post, I had more climbing related stuff to blog about.  I wanted to get video of a fun new problem, Normal Dream v8/9, which I did a little while back with Ben Spannuth.  Also, I wanted to do a post about new boulders in general.  So yesterday, I got out to Black Velvet again, and got Normal Dream footage.  Dave Heerema also nabbed the 3rd ascent, after a very impressive first day in BV, doing Wet Dream Right v11, Fountainhead v9, and getting close on the sit, Atlas Shrugged v12.  All of this after doing Lethal Design v12, the previous day.  Nice work Dave!

I also gave a good effort on Atlas Shrugged, falling off the lip!  Atlas is an amazing boulder problem, one of the best in Red Rocks.  It adds some steep compression moves to the already high quality and stout Fountainhead.  Without a doubt, I'll be back to finish it up.  Just have to give the elbows a few days off from all that squeezing.

Wet Dream is also coming along, but it is so very very hard for me.  I've put in so many days already, and I'm honestly not sure I'll be able to do it before heading back to Colorado around the end of the month.  Why put so much effort into a hard problem which doesn't suit me?  Take one look and the answer to that question should be clear.  In my opinion, Wet Dream is hands down, the best boulder problem in Red Rocks, and one of the best I have seen anywhere.  So check it out!

Mixing up days trying hard things, I've also spent some time hiking around looking for and climbing new things.  It may come as no surprise, but there are still plenty of new boulders to be done around Red Rocks, and even at Kraft.  Just get out there at look.  If you don't like to hike, just check out some of the projects in Tom's guidebook.  That thing is a guide to the past and the future.

So now, after this post got hijacked by recent events at Black Velvet, we get to the video I threw together of some new boulders at Kraft and one at BV.  Sorry about the lack of video editing in my videos recently.  Editing is very time consuming, and I have plenty of other time consuming things to work on...

The first 3 boulders are on the backside at Kraft. Hike over the saddle, follow the trail till shortly after it splits. There is a black overhanging wall on the side of the cliff, visible from the trail. The project is closer to the wash, in the small cluster of large boulders.  I'm not sure if its possible.  Normal Dream is at Black Velvet Canyon. Project on p91, #38 of Tom's Guidebook.

Boulders in order. Grades are estimates.
Black Wall Right v9
Black Wall Left v7
Normal Dream, v9.

And another from a while back, also at Kraft.  Hovercraft Full of Eels, about v5.

This problem is on a plateau on the swirly cliff, in the Kraft wash (gateway canyon). Hike around back of the cliff and then cut in where you can. it's a red bulged visible from above.  If the name confuses you.  Google is your friend.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Another Winter in Vegas

Winter is nearly over, and I haven't written anything since the fall.  I've been busy and haven't had anything I really felt like sharing.  Since leaving Colorado, after finishing up work around the end of November, I made my way once more to Las Vegas.  My Mom lives in Vegas, but probably not for much longer, so it seemed like a good idea to spend another (perhaps last for a while) season climbing at Red Rocks.

Spending time in Vegas has given me a little extra time, which I have put to good use.  As some of you may know, I'm a software engineer, and I have started writing apps for mobile phones running android.  I just finished my first app, which is a weather app.  It's not exactly designed for climbers, but I was definitely trying to create the app that I would want as a climber.

When I look at the weather before going climbing, I like to use NOAA point forecasts like this to get the weather for Lincoln Lake (for example), not the weather for Idaho Springs, or Denver.  This is exactly how my weather app get its data.  With the app though, you don't have to scroll around the map looking for the remote area you want a forecast for, since smart phones can pull down your location from GPS, cell towers, or WiFi.  Also, you can load up the radar, and spot any nearby storms in the area before they come flying in over the ridge-line.  Beats the normal 3 seconds you get to gather pads and take shelter from the rain, hail, and lighting!  I wonder if you get cell service on Longs?

So that's my plug, if you have an android phone, check it out.  "Weather Here" on the Android Market.  There are free and paid versions.  If you find it useful, please leave a high rating in the app store.  Sorry if you have an IPhone, maybe I'll be able to port it over at some point.

I should have some more material to post on Red Rocks soon, but for now I leave you with just a few photos from the last months.

Hiking with Karma back over the saddle at Kraft, after a day of looking for new boulders.

Alex Johnson climbing Fear of a Black Hat v9 at Kraft.

Josh Muller giving some good efforts on Clockwork Orange v12, Kraft.

Julia Smith climbing Porkchop v2, Kraft Wash.  Probably the best easy problem in Red Rocks.  PORKCHOP!

Alex Johnson crushing Leathal Designs v12.  She did it so fast I didn't have time to get my camera out for any of the low moves!
And check out Ben Spannuth with a very impressive near flash of the same problem!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Some more back blogging, this time from Washington.  After getting rained out in Squamish, I bailed to Leavenworth for a couple of weeks in October.

Rob Guinn flashing Pimpsqueak v9.
Maybe the best problem in Leavenworth.

Rob and I also spent a day in Gold Bar.  It was cool to see the area and climb a few problems.  The rock quality in Gold Bar was very good, just like I had been told.  The rock and the setting, specially in the forest, reminded me quite a lot of Squamish.  Will be nice to get back there and also check out Index.
The moss covered forest of Gold Bar, WA.
Karma is probably thinking, "why am I suppose to stand on this log?"

On my last day in Leavenworth I managed to do the first ascent of a project on the backside of the shield boulder in lower forestland.  Autopilot starts on Cruise Control, and climbs up and left across the face.  I think its around v11, but I'm never very sure about grades.  Perhaps it is more difficult.

Sam Johnson put together a nice video over at Koan Bouldering

Autopilot FA from Sam Johnson on Vimeo.

I also made a quick stop at an area called Tum Tum.  Named after the nearby city, Tum Tum is a small area close to Spokane.  The rock there is ok, and there are some cool problems.  It's not a destination, but if your around Spokane and want to do a little bouldering, check it out!

Here is a photo of a fun new problem I did in Tum Tum.  I'm calling Rule of Thumb, in reference to a key thumb catch (kind of a week connection but whatever).  It's probably around v10.
Rule of Thumb v10, TumTum, WA.
Photo Jon Eastman
Now I'm back in Colorado for a month of work.  Then back west!


View of Squamish from on top of the Chief

After going without a computer for a couple months, I finally have a new laptop. Now I can share some photos from my time in Squamish during the summer and early fall.

By the water
Alex Savage attempting the very tall "World of Hurt", v10
All you can eat sushi in Vancouver!  (sorry about my bad aim Asher)
Me working on Black Slabath, v8.
Photo Brooks Walker

And more sushi!
Sarah Clark warming up on Titanic, v3.

And then at the Fuzz, contemplating the nature of the universe?
Me climbing Ride the Waves, V7.
Photo Alex Savage

Mr. Chipmunk

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Rain

I haven't been blogging lately, but I have a pretty good excuse. My computer stopped working and I haven't found a replacement yet. I'm writing now from the public library, which works well enough.  I can't access any photos from my camera though, so I don't have a whole lot to share.

So what's going on right now? Well, I'm in Squamish, and it's raining. No real surprise there, but this time of year when it starts raining, you start to question if it will dry up again before the rainy season is in full force.  It's no mystery then, why so many climbers have fled to inland areas, seeking dryer weather.

For now though, I am sticking around. I'm holding out hope that some good fall conditions are still to come. Perhaps it's that my elbow has been hurting, and I figure a little rest will do it good. Or maybe it's that I'm just not ready to be done climbing here.  I have always been a little uncertain about which bouldering area was my favorite, but my recent time here in Squamish has crystallized my view on the matter.  I have come to believe that Squamish is the best bouldering in North America, and I'm not leaving without a fight!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mt. Evans 2

Echo Lake

My time in Colorado is over the for the summer. Moving on to Squamish, one of my favorite bouldering destinations. For now though, I still have some things to share from some great least weeks in the Colorado alpine area, Mt Evans.

Lincoln Lake

I put up a fun problem on the smallish boulder behind Guillotine. It's called Lincoln Egg, in reference to its remarkable similarity to the Egg in Squamish. Just a bit easier at around v6.

Jason getting ready to do the crux.

Paul sticking the lunge to the lip.

Jason and his pup.

This summer so far has been mostly about getting back in shape, but I managed to get one of my projects done as well.
Bebe Wolverine v12

Bebe Wolverine from Paul Nadler on Vimeo.

I spent several days climbing up at area E also. I repeated a couple of problems and put a few new ones.

This problem is on the back side of the Cell Block E boulder.
FA of Entangled V7

Entangled v7 from BS on Vimeo.

You can see some other awesome problems on the Cell Block E boulder at on Ben Scott's Vimeo page.

A little further up and to the left you can find this amazing compression problem.
FA of Boomerang v5.

Boomerang from Paul Nadler on Vimeo.

As expected, there were plenty of goats wandering around.

What I didn't expect however, was I would be adding to my list of less than ideal ways to be woken up. Previously the list included other people driving into my car. Now I can also add, waking up to a bear walking across the roof of my car. I was parked at Echo lake and woke to the car moving around. Karma was alert and I saw a big black object hop down and wander off to the nearby dumpsters. Several days later I again woke, this time to the sound of Karma barking. I saw mr. black bear peering right into the window at me. I doubt he could see with the tint, but was clearly curious. I grabbed my camera, but Karma's barking scared him off before I could take a picture. Would have been a cool picture, but was definitely happy to see the bear scared off. Go Karma!

Paw print.

Some scratches on the window.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mt. Evans

It's been a couple months since my last post, but thats just the way it is sometimes. I've been busy with all sorts of things, working, climbing, helping family move things across the country, etc. Increasingly i'm spending more of my time at Mt. Evans, my favorite of the alpine bouldering areas. Lincoln Lake has been the primary destination. Getting the finger back to strength, hanging out with friends, and avoiding rain.

My first day at Lincoln, just after the summit road opened up, I was actually planning to ski at A-basin. For whatever reason, I ended up going to Lincoln instead with Ivelin Penchev. I had no crash pad with me, but I did have my skies, and the hillside above the lake was still covered with snow. What better way to approach?

Ivo took video and provided me with a screen capture. You may have to click on the Image to make it big enough to actually see me.

As I got towards the bottom, I noticed Karma running across the hillside towards me. I had sent her with Ivo, thinking it might be hard for her to follow me, but I guess she got pscyhed and wanted to join in. Karma followed behind me the rest of the way and we cruised right up to the beginning of the boulders.

Snow on one side, beach on the other. After enough snow melts, the water level rises and this boulder goes under water for the remainder of the season.

Me climbing Beach Party Sit v4.

Photo Chad Nichols

Me climbing Lincoln Pinch v6, while snow is still covering the death landing.

Photo Ivelin Penchev

Nik Vukovich doing backflips off of boulders. For some reason...

Rest days are great for exploring the other parts of the mountain. There are always more boulders to check out if your willing to hike far enough. Usually the view is pretty nice too, and lots of wildlife.

Chicago Lakes.

John Gass sticking the lip, instead of crushing Karma.

Taking in the view.

The other side of the mountain.

Chilling in the meadows.

Can't forget the goats!

A little one.

A big one.